Frequently Asked Questions

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No. We chose to live in a mixed-income neighbourhood that is 20% low income. We chose a neighbourhood that, compared with most other parts of the city, has a relatively high percentage of social housing. We live here because we value the diversity.

The mega-tower at 508 Helmcken contains no social housing. None. As a 100% market-rate building, built for profit, it does not merit any increase in density beyond what is allowed by law. Yet this building is over 5.5 times as dense as City bylaws allow.

The 1099 Richards building replaces only the 87 units of social housing in the Jubilee House. The remaining 75 units will provide housing to individuals at low-end of market rents. The development application admits that those 75 units will likely host a range of levels of income, yet it repeatedly falsely refers to these small apartments to be rented at market rates as “social housing”. This is a direct attempt to mislead the public that more social housing is being built at the 1099 Richards site.

The complete 1099 Richards application can be seen at 1099_Richards_Street_dpb_complete_application_2013_08_12

We’re not against social housing. We’re against the size and density of a building that massively exceeds neighbourhood plan bylaws. We’re against a new tower on City-owned land that had been planned and budgeted to be part of our park. And we’re against an City process that withheld, distorted and hid important information from the public, preventing informed discussion and decision-making.

No. The developer proposed building a tower on the City-owned property at the edge of the park. The City negotiated the deal, trading land that had been previously planned and budgeted as an extension to the park.

After years of private planning and negotiation, the City and developer presented the planned tower to the public as a fully-designed development.

Even in public hearings where there was overwhelming (90%) community opposition, the City still refused to consider any other location for the tower.

No. We all chose to live in one of the densest areas in the city. How can we be against density?

We support building even more housing in our neighbourhood.

We don’t support building a massive tower on a small plot of land that had been planned to be added to our park.

There are other lots in our neighbourhood that the City owns that are better suited for a building of this size — or even larger.

We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss a range of other options for increasing density in New Yaletown. The City hasn’t been willing to discuss any plan but the one they presented as a done-deal.

Nothing. We like towers. We all chose to live in a neighbourhood of towers.

What’s wrong is the type of tower the City has approved.

The planned tower at 508 Helmcken is:

  • Over 5.5 times as dense
  • Over 4.5 times as tall

as is allowed by law in the area. And the building will occupy more of the site area, with smaller setbacks from the sidewalk, than is allowed by law.

Shouldn’t the City be required to follow its own bylaws?

New Yaletown is a distinct neighbourhood, separate from Yaletown. The boundaries of the neighbourhood are defined in the City’s Downtown South Guidelines.

New Yaletown is adjacent to Yaletown, and is a mixed-income neighbourhood (approximately 20% low income) that is largely residential. Click the link to read more about New Yaletown’s location.